State Issues Steep Fines for Alleged Violations of Land, Air and Water Regs

BALTIMORE (May 23, 2013)—The Maryland Department of the Environment today announced major enforcement actions in recent months for alleged violations of State and federal environmental laws to protect public health and our land, air, water and wetlands resources.

“The Maryland Department of the Environment's top priority is to protect public health and our environment. A consistent baseline of enforcement action prevents further pollution and risks to public health,” said MDE Secretary Robert M. Summers. “The majority of Maryland businesses comply with environmental laws. A strong and fair enforcement program protects our investment in the environment as well as the health and quality of life of all Maryland residents.”

Air Pollution Enforcement Actions

MDE’s Air and Radiation Management Administration ensures that all citizens and businesses are meeting the requirements of the federal Clean Air Act as well as Maryland’s air pollution control laws. The Administration oversees air pollution monitoring, planning and control programs to improve and maintain air quality and a radiation control program to protect the public from unnecessary exposure to radiation from medical equipment and other devices, in conformance with federal and state law.

AUTOMATED GRAPHICS SYSTEMS – CHARLES COUNTY: On February 28, 2013, MDE issued a Corrective Order and a Notice of Proposed Civil Penalty of $35,000 to Automated Graphics Systems for alleged violations of Maryland’s air quality regulations by failing to submit its required annual air pollutant emission certification.

SMITHSBURG CREMATORY – CHARLES COUNTY: On March 18, 2013, MDE issued a Notice of Assessed Civil Penalty in the amount of $50,000 to Smithsburg Crematory for alleged violations of Maryland’s air quality regulations. Smithsburg allegedly violated air quality requirements by operating without the required air quality permit and by failing to maintain proper temperature records for its air pollution control device.

Radiation Machines Division

The following actions are in response to alleged violations of Maryland regulations for the control of ionizing radiation from use of radiation (x-ray) machines.

PRINCE FREDERICK DENTAL CENTER – CALVERT COUNTY: On April 1, 2013, the Department issued a Complaint, Order, and Administrative Penalty to Prince Frederick Dental Center for $5,000 for alleged radiation machine violations.

Water Pollution Enforcement Actions

State law prohibits the discharge of any pollutant into waters of the State, unless such discharge is in compliance with the terms, conditions, and requirements of a discharge permit. A person must hold a discharge permit issued by MDE before the person may construct, install, modify, extend, alter or operate any facility or disposal system or any other outlet or establishment if its operation could cause or increase the discharge of pollutants into waters of the State.

It is unlawful for any person to introduce soil or sediment into waters of the State or to place soil or sediment in a condition or location where it is likely to be washed into waters of the State. State law requires that, prior to performing construction activity, a person obtain and implement a Soil Conservation District-approved erosion and sediment control plan that must be maintained for the life of the project for any proposed land clearing or earth disturbance greater than 5,000 square feet.

Earth disturbances that exceed one acre are required to obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Construction Activity from MDE. The NPDES Permit requires that an approved erosion and sediment control plan be obtained and implemented, that self-monitoring inspections occur, and that a log of such inspections be maintained.

State laws require that property owners notify MDE before conducting any work in tidal and nontidal wetlands, their buffers, and waterways of the State. MDE assesses the impact of any work on tidal and nontidal wetlands and, if appropriate, will issue a permit authorizing the work. The regulations governing wetlands were developed to protect the State’s natural resources that depend on those wetlands and minimize impacts while allowing property owners reasonable use of their property.

GENON MD ASH MANAGEMENT LLC (GENON) – CHARLES, PRINCE GEORGE’S AND MONTGOMERY COUNTIES: On April 30, 2013, a Consent Decree was entered in United States District Court to resolve three enforcement actions brought by MDE against GenOn for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act and Maryland water pollution laws at the Faulkner Ash Management Facility in Charles County, the Brandywine Ash Management Facility in Prince George’s County and the Westland Ash Management Facility in Montgomery County. MDE alleged the unauthorized discharge of pollutants to navigable waters and waters of the State through cracks and fissures in unlined fly ash disposal pits, leachate collection ponds and permitted and unpermitted outfalls. The Consent Decree requires GenOn to: pay MDE a civil penalty of $1.9 million to resolve the past violations alleged in the Complaints and pay the Department stipulated penalties for specified future violations of law and the Consent Decree; perform a study at each site to characterize existing conditions and contaminant characteristics; perform remedial actions at the Sites to abate existing contamination of groundwater and surface water and prevent future contamination; achieve compliance with applicable surface water and groundwater discharge regulations; and achieve compliance with applicable solid waste and fly ash management requirements.

CHARLOTTE HALL INVESTMENT PROPERTIES, LLC, MARK VOGEL COMPANIES, INC., ROY A. WILLIAMS – ST. MARY’S COUNTY: On April 8, 2013, MDE issued an Administrative Complaint and Penalty against Charlotte Hall Investment Properties, LLC, Mark Vogel Companies, Inc., Mark R. Vogel, and Roy A. Williams for alleged sediment control, sediment pollution, and water pollution violations. The alleged violations occurred on Three Notch Road in Charlotte Hall. MDE assessed a $209,500 penalty.

ROBERT F. ABNER – CALVERT COUNTY: On April 12, 2013, a Consent Decree was entered in the Circuit Court for Calvert County to resolve alleged tidal wetlands violations involving the placement of unauthorized fill in tidal wetlands at a property and marina on Harbor Road in Chesapeake Beach between May 2006 and December 2008. The Consent Decree also resolves alleged water pollution violations that occurred from June 2005 through June 2011. The Consent Decree requires the defendant to: pay $10,000 to the Tidal Wetlands Compensation Fund and $10,000 to the Maryland Clean Water Fund; perform restoration work in accordance with a plan and schedule approved by MDE; submit an annual report for three years reporting the success of the marsh planting; and implement and maintain the approved sediment and erosion control plan for the site.

GREYSTAR DEVELOPMENT AND CONSTRUCTION, L.P., – ST. MARY’S COUNTY: On March 13, 2013, Greystar Development and Construction (Greystar GP, LLC). paid $11,000 to the Clean Water Fund for the alleged violation that the NPDES General Discharge Permit for Stormwater Associated with Construction Activity logbook was not maintained and the approved erosion and sediment control plan was not implemented and maintained, causing sediment pollution to waters of the State in a nontidal wetlands draining to an unnamed tributary of the St. Mary’s River.

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